Pluto’s Purchase Review

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It’s time for the next Disney short which is another Pluto special. Unfortunately it wasn’t very good like the last one. It’s a shame because this special was going reasonably well until the very mean spirited ending. Definitely not the way you want to end any special.

The story begins with Mickey sending Pluto to the deli in order to grab his lunch. Mickey has been growing old over the years so of course he wouldn’t go grab it himself. Pluto has no problems with the plan since securing his own lunch will make it taste even better. Unfortunately, one of the alley dogs decides to try and steal the meat. Pluto is in for quite a fight!

It’s a classic story of two dogs fighting it out for the same lunch. Obviously Pluto is in the right here as it’s his lunch which he paid for fair and square. The other dog is just another in a long line of villains who would like to stop Pluto but he shall fall like the rest. At least that’s what you would think. Unfortunately the special actually ends with the dog winning and in one of the worst ways possible.

Pluto had made it home but then Mickey snatches the lunch away and gives it to the other dog. That was one of the biggest betrayals that I’ve seen in quite a while and Pluto doesn’t get a happy ending of any kind. Being forced to share it would be one thing, but losing it altogether? Yeah that’s not really a good idea.

The whole thing also makes Mickey look very bad and out of character. He seems completely oblivious to everything when I like to think that he is more on the cunning side and always ready for what is to come. He would have realized that having Pluto go grab his usual lunch would lead to the assumption that it was his. He should have told Pluto straight up what was going on instead of all this zigzag. At least tell him to buy 2 since then the implication would also be clear. Not saying it until the end just isn’t a nice or fair approach.

The animation is smooth as always. Disney is still consistent in that area and that won’t change for quite a while. It’s easy to forget just how old the specials are since they look so bright and vibrant. You would be forgiven for thinking that the special is a lot newer than it actually is.

Overall, this special is one that you will probably want to skip. Dread it, Run from it, but the Pluto specials will always find a way to break the mold of Disney successes and make some kind of mistake. At least if these two specials are a good indication of the group. There’s just no reason to watch a Pluto special when you can watch one about any other character. He’s simply not ready for the big time.

Overall 5/10

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Society Dog Show Review

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It’s time for what is the weakest Disney short so far. I don’t really think it would be right to blame it on Pluto here, but at the same time I have always suspected that he isn’t quite ready for the big time. He’s better as a supporting character than in the lead role. This special just isn’t all that fun and reminds me why dog shows like this one are more sketchy than anything.

Mickey brings Pluto to a dog show to show that high society aren’t the only ones with fashionable dogs around here. It’s a noble sentiment but seeing as how the judge is one of them I suspect there is already some bias in the equation. There’s no time to think about that though as a big fire starts and Pluto has to quickly turn into the hero that he always knew he could be. It’s a pretty emotional climax there and the special would have been better if it had started with the fire and abandoned the intro.

The scene that is the most drawn out is when the appraiser is messing with Pluto. Pluto tries to grin and bear with it, but the whole thing is pretty unreasonable so I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had tackled the guy right from the get go. Mickey shouldn’t have brought him here in the first place either. Pluto wasn’t having any fun and so it wasn’t fun to see him have to put up with all of this either. The special isn’t very long so it’s not as if any scene goes on for too long either, but the slapstick and comedy just wasn’t all that fun this time around. If a comedy special isn’t too fun…then what hope does it have of being all that solid?

As always the animation is pretty smooth and fluid though. The fire scene is impressive because of how fast everything is going and you just know that the artists must have had to draw a considerable amount to bring all of these scenes to life. Disney really got big through their animation and inventing such colorful and memorable characters really sealed the deal. It’s a visual masterpiece even if the actual special isn’t really the best one that they’ve put out.

Overall, I don’t think Society is ready for a dog show. Stick to the Puppy Bowl if anything since there they all follow the rules and don’t have to worry about bias judges. The second half of the special at least brings in a sense of danger and a lot of tension, but it isn’t enough to totally eliminate the first half. I’d say that if you are in the mood to check out a Disney special, watch one for one of the other characters. If you want to see Pluto then choose a Mickey Mouse special instead of a Pluto one. That is the optimal strategy here.

Overall 5/10

Winter Storage Review

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Another special has Chip n Dale at it again but this time Donald starts the fight. He has started a very successful Nut Butter company by turning Acorns into butter. The problem is that he is running out of butter and business is still booming. He decides to steal the nut supply from the Chipmunks which is where all of the trouble starts. They don’t take kindly to this and initiate a counter strike where they don’t leave a single acorn behind.

To Donald’s credit he does a good job of defending himself once he knows what’s up. An intense hockey game starts up with the highest stakes possible, the nuts. Donald tries blocking the Chipmunks from slamming the nuts into their treehouse but 2 v 1 just aren’t good odds and Donald is getting roasted. He is clearly out of practice and needs to find his inner champion again.

As it is, Donald did deflect some of the nets and held his own in the skirmishes. They just overwhelmed him with the sheer amount of nuts that they were swinging around. Even then he didn’t back down and took them head in which was pretty impressive. I can’t blame the Chipmunks for their actions at all this time either since Donald is the one who stole their nuts. You simply can’t let that happen.

I’d definitely like to see some more sports with Donald and the crew. Honestly I’d probably say that Donald would even outrank Mickey in this area since he just seems the most agile. Donald definitely has the most competitive spirit as well so he wouldn’t mind roughing Mickey up a bit during the plays which would give him the edge. As long as he isn’t unfairly outnumbered like in this special, my money is always on the duck.

There’s not much to say about the animation as it’s basically the usual. Solid and streamlined as always with a lot of heart out into it. I’d expect nothing less from Disney since they always deliver. I’ll give a shoutout to the fact that they always manage to put a lot of plot into the special even with no dialogue. They definitely mastered the art of show don’t tell.

Overall, This was another pretty fun special. The Hockey Game was definitely the highlight and just made the special a blast to watch. Donald also did get the last laugh even if wha he did still helped his opponents. At least he got to go down on his own terms which isn’t something that just anyone can say. I still say that 1 on 1 Donald would have claimed victory here. He doesn’t hold back against any opponent and would have used his size advantage and competitive intensity to control the court. Nobody stops this duck!

Overall 7/10

Lonesome Ghosts Review

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I always tell myself that I’m not afraid of ghosts, but watching shorts like this one reminds me that they could be deadly if they were real. Intangibility, Invisibility and reality warping are just the tip of the iceberg for this trio of ghouls. It’s really hard to deal with opponents that are this versatile and skilled in combat. It naturally makes for a good adventure though and this may be the best of the classic Disney shorts. It’s nonstop action as we get the hyped team up of Donald, Mickey, and Goofy.

The three of them are called to a haunted house to deal with a ghost problem. Mickey eagerly accepts the mission and brings along his squadmates, Goofy, and Donald. The three of them are ready to tackle any challenge that comes their way, but they’ll definitely have to use every skill at their disposal if they want to come out on top. Once they get in the house there is no turning back. Not that our brave heroes would run though, the only one who would beat a hasty retreat is Goofy and even he claims that he isn’t afraid of ghosts.

Donald is still my favorite member of the 3 and he does the best against the ghosts. He actually lands a solid haymaker. While the ghost may have quickly bounced back to mess with him some more, it was a satisfying moment. Donald also doesn’t show as much terror as the other characters. Goofy does the worst of course. While he looks so bad throughout that it is pretty funny, you just wish he could be a little more useful at times. Stabbing himself is not the way to win fights. As for Mickey, he’s determined, but he definitely felt outgunned the whole time. He’s a good team leader, but we know his group wouldn’t do too well without Donald.

The animation is consistent and looks really good. Especially when you consider just how old this special is. Disney was certainly ahead of its time in the animation department. The music is also fairly good. Perhaps it isn’t very memorable, but it gets the job done and sets the stage for the hype encounters with the supernatural. The special is only a little over 10 minutes so it definitely ends pretty quickly. While that means we don’t get to see as many pranks and shenanigans as I’d like, it also results in the pacing being quite fast. It doesn’t slow down for an instant and there is really nothing negative to say about this special. It’s a fun way to spend 15 minutes and the premise was just really good. I think it’ll be tough for a Disney short to pass it anytime soon.

Overall, If you haven’t started watching the classic Disney shorts yet, now is a good time to start. This one is very accessible for new viewers and you’ll be able to get the character personalities right away even based on just a few minutes of action. It’s also good to start with this special since you see the three big characters right away as opposed to seeing them separately for a while. It’s hard to name a more iconic trio than these guys.

Overall 7/10

Hanazuki: Full Of Treasures Review

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There was a brief theatrical short that played before the MLP movie so I figured I’d review this as well. It was very short so it’s not as if there was much time to get used to the movie. If the point of the special was to get me interested in the film then I can’t really say that it worked. It seems like a pleasant enough series though and I’m sure that it’ll get better but it just didn’t hook me.

So there’s this little girl who is babysitting 4 stars. One of the Yellow stars is really petty and decides to steal Hanazuki’s gem that she got from a sleeping fairy and dashes off faster than you can say “Wakka Wakka.” Hanazuki chases after her mischievous friend and they land on the forbidden side of the moon. They are chased by a giant monster and nearly fall into the lava, but the monster has been moved by the power of friendship and saves them. Hanazuki then scolds the star by giving it a turn on the slide and everything is happily ever after.

I mean, there wasn’t too much crude humor here aside from the monster drooling on the heroes every once in a while so that’s a good start. I think that the main problem here in the end is simply the fact that the characters aren’t as charismatic as the ponies. Whether you think My Little Pony is amazing or simply spectacular, the concept is fairly original. You can already get sold on the show by the fact that the characters are ponies and unicorns with mysterious powers. We’ve had a lot of human shows so one about them having fun in space can be fun, but it’s been done before. I think the characters are supposed to have powers as Hanazuki glows when she’s happy, but I’m going to need more moments like that to really sell the concept for me. Also, I already don’t like the mini stars. They just come across as really petty and are just dragging Hanazuki into trouble. At the end of the day, there wasn’t really anything wrong with the special though. At least it was over in a matter of minutes and didn’t drag on. It’ll be a pleasant enough series.

Overall, there’s not much that this special can do for you one way or the other. The animation isn’t bad, but it’s a clear step down from My Little Pony and doesn’t feel like something out of 2017. You can’t really tell if the series has a plot from this either. I hope fans of the show enjoy it as it gets longer and the lore gets explored more, but I won’t be taking that journey at this point. I wouldn’t mind if theaters started doing this more often though as having a short before a movie sounds pretty good to me. It just makes you that much more hyped for the film as you get a few extra minutes to shoot around theories in your head.

Overall 6/10

Good Scouts Review

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It’s been a while, but time to finally check out the next Disney special. Donald Duck always makes for a pretty good protagonist and this time is no different as he tries to survive the harsh elements of the great outdoors. Unfortunately, he doesn’t tie up his tent correctly so he gets splattered with honey and then a bear attacks him. Can Donald stop the bear and get back to teaching his nephews what being a professional is all about or is he doomed?

The special is super short as always, but it manages to capture the adventure rather well. The plot/pacing felt a lot tighter than usual which was really good as all of the scenes really had a purpose. When you have to tell a full story in roughly 10-12 minutes you really have to think through every scene to decide if it should be there or not. I can’t think of any scene that should have been removed. Donald was perhaps even more sputtery than usual as it could be hard to hear what he was saying, but it just increases the “Donald” effect that you like to see in his specials. His nephews were pretty solid this time around as well. They did at least try to stop Donald from nearly breaking his back on the stone tree. Perhaps they could have tried a little harder, but they did enough.

Donald also recovered from it pretty well which is why he’s such a good character. He took the whole thing in stride and even decided to play a practical joke on his nephews. It may have failed in every sense of the word and I’m not sure about the spelling of the ketchup (Was the word copyrighted back in the day?) but it showed that Donald was ready to spread the chaos. It just didn’t work this time around.

The animation is pretty fluid and consistent like you’d expect it to be. I do like these simple hand drawn days. You can tell that the animators put a lot of effort into it and I still can’t imagine drawing frame by frame. That just sounds like soooo much work. There isn’t much of a soundtrack in this one, but we get all of the classic sound effects for the chase scene. You could feel the desperation in Donald as he struggled to escape before realizing that it was all ultimately futile. There is just no running away from a big bear.

Overall, I enjoyed this special quite a bit. It’s easily one of Disney’s best shorts. The cast may have been a little smaller than usual, but it just meant that we got to see Donald more. I’m waiting for a special where he challenges Mickey to something like Basketball or Hockey so we could see his competitive side come out a little more. We know that Donald never gives up and is always bursting with confidence after all. Putting him in a situation like that would absolutely make for quite the spectacle. If you haven’t seen this special yet, then I’d advise you to do so ASAP. Prepare yourself for the somber ending though. Donald knows that he’s got to keep running because if it catches him….it’s game over.

Overall 7/10

Boat Builders Review

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It’s time for another water themed Disney short. The gang has come back together for one last ride as they work to build a boat, but do they have the expertise for it? After all, as fearsome as this trio is, they don’t have a whole lot of experience when it comes to manufacturing. Maybe it’s time for them to quit while they’re ahead. The tricky part is that Minnie is sending them off so Mickey can’t back down now. Somehow…he has to find a way to win!

Each of the characters has their own plot as per usual. For Goofy, he finds a manequin in a box and quickly panics. He isn’t used to working with figures and clearly hasn’t started collecting them yet. While he panics, Mickey takes her away to be the ship’s figure head. Goofy also gets beat up by the wood boards that he had been gluing. It was a pretty painful experience for him that’s for sure. His plot was the weakest in this special.

Donald actually had a good handle on his part for a change. He was painting the ship rather well until Mickey sabotaged the controls and started slapping Donald. He tried to hint that it wasn’t intentional in the slightest, but I have my doubts if we’re being honest. It seemed a little too deliberate for him to not realize what he was doing. Donald took it in stride though and tried to fight back, he just wasn’t able to win.

Mickey’s was more about general building. He didn’t really get to do anything in particular. When the boat fell apart at the end, Mickey did take it in stride though. He just laughed it off and got ready for the next adventure. That’s why Mickey’s always been the leader of the group. Everything just bounces off of him and he keeps the group connected. Next time he should probably ask Minnie Mouse not to smash a bottle on the boat though. It actually could have made it to the ocean otherwise. Sure, it probably would have sunk rather early on in the adventure since it clearly wasn’t very durable, but at least they would have had a proper send off right? I definitely don’t understand the tradition or wasting a wine bottle and damaging the ship at the same time. It just doesn’t feel right.

This special is older than the last one, but the animation is as consistent as always. Seeing Mickey’s older design is always a little unnerving since he feels like a different character at times. This Mickey was certainly a lot more energetic and mischievous although the latter side didn’t get to show much this time. He was too busy working.

Overall, This is another good special. It’s a little more bland than the Tugboat adventure which is why it’s a star lower, but it’s still a good adventure. Once again this special is only around 7 minutes so that is really done in a breeze. I definitely wouldn’t mind if we still got specials like this nowadays. If Disney had kept it up for all of these years, they’d likely have well over 1000 by now. Of course, coming up with that many plots could be tricky. After all, there isn’t a whole lot of dialogue in these so you have to illustrate everything and that’s usually tougher in modern programs. Still, if anyone can do it, it’s Disney.

Overall 6/10

Thru the Mirror Review

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Thru The Mirror brings us even further back into Disney’s roots as it is a solo Mickey Mouse adventure. The good news is that this means Goofy isn’t present…the bad news is that Donald also isn’t around. Mickey can usually hold his own special no problem but he isn’t able to talk in this special. That makes the task a great deal more difficult. It’s an entertaining short, but one that could have used more dialogue.

The short starts up with Mickey’s soul being thrown out of his body. It’s at this point that Mickey realizes he may never go back to his body again so he decides to have fun messing around in the real world. He doesn’t get to stay there for long though as he enters Wonderland and must now struggle to stay alive against an army of Cards and a vengeful King. Fortunately for Mickey, he is actually a great swordsman and this is good foreshadowing for the Kingdom Hearts franchise.

The animation is nice and smooth as always. The soundtrack was more limited and less eventful than the last two specials, but it still wasn’t bad. It is definitely interesting to see Mickey’s old design here since it is such a contrast to the one we are all used too. It helps you buy into the different personality a little better though.It’s hard to imagine modern Mickey being so rebellious and messing with people the way that he does here.

What you’re probably wondering now is…was the King acting rashly or did he make the right call? I can safely say that it’s the latter. Mickey went too far when he danced with the Queen and I’m glad that the King arrived to put him in his place. The fight may not have gone as well as the King would have hoped, but it wasn’t super one sided either. He made Mickey sweat and I’m sure that the mouse will have second thoughts before crossing him again.

The rest of the Alice in Wonderland cameos and elements were fun as well. It’s definitely a legend that is used quite a lot as many different titles have been inspired by it. It wouldn’t be the last time that Disney would head back to this arena either. Hopefully Mickey brings Donald around next time so we can have some banter between him and the Cheshire Cat. At the very least, I’d like Mickey to bring along his keyblade so we can have some real fights.

Overall, Thru The Mirror is a fun special that has aged reasonably well. I would have liked it more if Mickey could talk though. Dialogue is just so important in a movie because it lets you become one with the film and only then can you embrace it to its full potential. Oh well, it’s still a fun way to spend 15 minutes and after that you can get a milkshake as you continue to remember the good ole days.

Overall 6/10

The Band Concert Review

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It’s time for another classic Disney review! In this special, Mickey Mouse is actually the antagonist for once. In my head canon, Mickey Mouse let the fame get to him and he forgot to look out for the little guys. As such, he is now the leader of a band and only allows top musicians to play with him. Donald tries to get in on the action, but Mickey reacts violently each time. He’ll have to think of something to get in on the act, but things get tough when a tornado sweeps through and carries them all off. Can Mickey finish his song or will Donald interfere again?

It’s a pretty entertaining special and I can see why people consider it to be one of Disney’s stronger ones. I thought it was more enjoyable than the others that I’ve seen as well. It’s pretty high energy the whole time. Sure, Mickey is pretty out of character, but it just goes to show that even he loses it once in a while. At least Mickey is super focused as not even the tornado could break his concentration. His team didn’t miss a beat and that’s why they’re considered as the pros.

Meanwhile, Donald Duck did his best to fit in. He didn’t let the others get him down and came with a lot of flutes just in case. I’d say that he’s easily the best character in this special. Donald is a reminder to us all that nobody can stop you from playing your tunes except for yourself. This special was a little light on dialogue so we didn’t get to hear Donald’s iconic voice as much as I’d like, but it’s still always fun to see him on screen. Donald is certainly my favorite from the old Disney characters. Another bonus is that Goofy doesn’t get much to do here since it’s just a bunch of Goofy ripoffs in the band and none of them have any lines if I recall correctly. Most excellent!

The actual song that the band was playing was pretty good as well. I definitely don’t mind old style songs for a special like this one. After all, something like Brave or Excalibur Clash wouldn’t fit so well right? I sometimes like to wonder what is better, to have a really epic song for something simple like baking a cake or to have a fairly uneventful theme playing the whole time. The latter would be forgettable, but the former would hint at something epic coming up and then you’d just be disappointed. It’s a tough question for sure.

Overall, it’s fun to check out these retro specials. They’re really short so you can breeze through them, but the animation holds up well. Mickey Mouse and the others certainly got iconic through these shorts so Disney knew how to market even back then. Still, I doubt anyone could have ever guessed just how legendary they would ultimately end up being. There are a lot of specials so it’ll probably be a while before I see them all, but I’m getting there step by step.

Overall 7/10

The Whalers Review

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It’s time for the second Disney special. On TV they aired both back to back which was pretty neat. This one is a little more of a big deal since it’s the crossover between Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Seeing the three of them on the big screen was intense. Despite this, it actually wasn’t as good as the Donald special though. Lets face it, Goofy can’t really hold his own next to the other two and Donald just makes for a more entertaining character.

The special starts off with Mickey Mouse getting another reality warper upset. This causes a bunch of water to come alive and constantly knock Mickey around. Mickey takes it in stride, but after getting knocked around the whole boat for a while, he realizes that he is in over his head. Donald tries to eat a sandwich, but he takes a little too long so the bird take it off of his hands. Meanwhile, Goofy keeps setting himself on fire, which is most unfortunate. The three of them have definitely fallen on hard times and they certainly can’t hope to snag a whale this way. Ah well…maybe they should have gone fishing instead.

The animation is pretty clean as you’d expect. The colors are all pretty seamless so you can see how much effort was put into the character designs. From the 3 plots, Mickey was probably the best even if it was rather repetitive. After getting blasted by the water for the 2nd and 3rd time, you kinda get the point. The Goofy plot was your typical slap stick. It wasn’t anything special, but at least Goofy always tries. Donald’s plight was the most sympathetic since everyone really wants to be able to finish their lunch in peace. Donald did an admirable job of trying to hold on, but you really can’t stop the birds. The three plots converged at the end, but even teaming up they weren’t able to do much.

It’s pretty interesting that Mickey’s boat can essentially turn into a giant mouth that can eat people up. It was even more interesting how the Whale just barreled through the place. If we’ve learned anything from the classic Disney shorts, it’s that you really can’t mess with aquatic animals. They fear nobody and have the raw strength to back that attitude up.

Overall, The Whalers isn’t quite as fun as the Sea Scouts. That’s mainly because of the fact that the special which was already very short, had to also juggle 3 different plots before merging them. There’s not much time to do anything so they settle for just using one joke each and then reusing it until it’s time to shift gears. I think a better use of its time would have been to have just had all 3 characters on screen at once. With one plot, then the special could have given them more things to do. It’s fun enough though and it’s so short that it’s not a big investment of your time. I’d recommend checking it out. Try to imagine how you’d handle the Mickey situation differently and think about your odds of success. There wasn’t much he could have done, but I would have at least gone under the ship into the boiler room. The water would probably be a little scared to follow me in there!

Overall 6/10